in the kitchen with: mamie patton’s macaroni and cheese

This week’s recipe comes from someone who doesn’t have an internet presence at all. Mamie Patton was a family friend of my aunt and her family for several years, which is how I was fortunate enough to enjoy her delicious food. Growing up in an African American family in the South, there were some foods that felt like family tradition. Mac and Cheese was one of our favorites and no one’s recipe warmed my heart (and my stomach) like Mamie’s. I used her recipe as a guideline, substituting cheeses for ones I love and adding different spices to fit my palate.  It’s not something I can eat every day, in any case, but is a nice treat once or twice a year.  –Kristina

About Mamie: A native of Athens, Alabama, Mamie Patton has been cooking since she was 7 years old.  Mamie and her husband Jerry currently live in Huntsville, Alabama and there is nothing that Mamie enjoys more than cooking and reading cookbooks, other than eating.

See Mamie’s favorite recipe after the jump.

Mamie’s Baked Mac and Cheese

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided (about 2 Cups)
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni, or other preferred shape, cooked 6 minutes, drained (about 3/4 cups)


  1. Combine corn starch, salt, dry mustard and pepper in a medium saucepan. Stir in milk until smooth. Add margarine. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 1 minute. It’s very important that you stir constantly so as not to burn, do not skip this step!
  2. After the mixture has boiled for 1 minute, remove from heat.
  3. Reserve 1/4 cup cheese for topping, then stir remaining cheese into the milk mixture until melted.
  4. Add elbow macaroni noodles to cheese mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Pour contents of pan into a greased 2-quart casserole dish, or smaller individual dishes. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
  6. Bake uncovered in 375 degree oven until golden and crispy on top, or however you prefer your macaroni and cheese.

Why Mamie loves this recipe

This is a modified version of the recipe from the back of the Mueller’s pasta box.  I add half an additional cup of cheese to the recipe, and do a mix of mild and sharp cheddar, and I use skim milk (and less of it) instead of whole fat milk.  When I am cooking for others, I have come back to this version of macaroni and cheese over the years because it is the one people like best.

  1. With this crazy snow coming down, I really could use a plate (or two) of this!

  2. Thanks Mamie & Kristina for reminding me on this lovely dish…what a good idea for a comfy weekend!

  3. Shannon says:

    This will be my dinner tonight! Perfect blizzard fare!

  4. melissab says:

    yum! this is like the mac and cheese my mom has made all these years, except we use flour instead of cornstarch and sprinkle with paprika before putting in the oven. kids love this stuff. maybe she got it from the same source? thanks, mamie!
    nice casserole dishes and towel, too!

  5. Gina G. says:

    The perfect and really yummy confort food for this weekend! What a lovely dish and gorgeous presentation! At Voilà! we are all eating the photos :)

  6. jess says:

    Mac + cheese is my most favorite meal ever and this looks AMAZING. I am sure mine won’t come out looking nearly as awesome, but hopefully it will taste just as good!

  7. ellen patton says:

    I’m going to have to try this recipe; my last name is Patton!

  8. Ginger Kay says:

    This is the recipe I’ve always used! I add a shake of onion powder and never skip the mustard. I had the only children who would not eat boxed macaroni and cheese because of this recipe.

  9. julia says:

    My grandma’s recipe (from SC) is very similar. She uses eggs though, I’m surprised this recipe doesn’t include that. Looks good!

  10. Ainee Beland says:

    Blizzard food, comfort food etc. Good for emergency reminder of olden days of sparseness. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Louise says:

    Oh, wow that looks GOOD! Perfect for now.

  12. Wow. Ironically enough, I made some Mac & Cheese tonight and it looked nowhere near as good as this one.

  13. Lisa says:

    Why margarine instead of butter?– does it make a difference?

  14. Libby says:

    So DELICIOUS! I just made this earlier this week. I did use real butter instead of margarine, and added just a teensy bit of garlic powder. I also used whole wheat rotini since I didn’t have any elbow macaroni. I also took Mamie’s tip to add that extra half a cup of cheese – glad I did – it was the perfect amount of cheesy goodness.

    I saved the recipe and plan on maybe adding broccoli next time :)

    Thanks, Design*Sponge, for continuing to share yummy recipes.

  15. Marissa says:

    Made this for a potluck last night and it got devoured! I think I cooked it for about 45 minutes in a 2qt casserole dish. Thanks for the recipe! Was delicious :)


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